From the new features page:
Reply by chat
Just what it sounds like… when you're about to (or in the middle of a) reply to someone, and you see that person online, you can just send your reply as a chat message. And if you've chosen to save your chat histories, then your chat even gets threaded with that original email conversation.
So basically what they are saying, is that they are merging chat and IM, which in itself is not new, but for someone using the Gmail interface, its pretty streamlined, and you dont have to fire up a different peice of software to do it.
From the Gmail Help Center:
What is 'Reply by Chat'?
Reply by chat lets you and your contacts discuss an email you've sent or received. If you've enabled the Save chat history option in your account, it also groups your chat history in the same conversation as the message you're chatting about. This way, you can keep all of your communications in context.
Here's how to reply by chat:
1. Log in to your Gmail account.
2. Open the message you'd like to chat about, and make sure the sender is online and available to chat.
3. Click Reply by chat at the bottom of the message.
* A new chat window will open displaying the subject of the email you're discussing.
4. Click the X in the top-right corner of the chat window when you're done discussing the e-mail.
Chat histories are only grouped with conversations when you use the Reply by chat feature. If you close a chat window after you discuss an email with someone, and then initiate a new chat, your chat history won't be grouped with a conversation.
Neat stuff. If you want a Gmail invite, feel free to leave a comment saying so - i'll pickup your email address once you validate your comment. (So no need to post it publicly).
Other related posts:
Googles online notes application
Gmail as a free smtp server
Gmail contact pictures
Comment by Haytham Hafiz, on 15-Jul-2007 23:04
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